Hereford will house only first-year students by 2010

Administration sends students e-mail confirming change, recognizing inconvenience for returning residents

Students living in Hereford College recently received an e-mail informing them that Hereford will officially become first-year-only housing starting in fall 2010.

According to the e-mail, the reasons for the change are the continued growth of incoming first-year classes and the ongoing dormitory replacement project on Observatory Hill.

“We recognize the potential inconvenience this decision may cause residents of Hereford who had intended to re-sign for space in the College,” the e-mail stated, “and are committed to minimizing disruption for those wishing to remain part of the College experience, or, those seeking other on-Grounds accommodation for the coming year.”

Patricia Lampkin, vice president and chief student affairs officer, said the decision was an unexpected — but necessary — one. She said the University was informed “just a few weeks ago” about additional construction needs stemming from cost and pragmatic issues and had to balance its commitment to the first-year experience and the interests of current residents.

Many current Hereford residents expressed dissatisfaction after learning early last week that the University administration was considering converting Hereford to strictly first-year housing as early as fall 2009. A number of students painted Beta Bridge Sunday evening in an effort to encourage the administration to reconsider the decision.

Though the final decision pushes the final conversion date back to 2010, first-year College student Jordan Williams said she is not happy with the planned changes to Hereford.

“It’s so calm and peaceful up here,” Williams said. “You don’t have some of the busyness you get on central Grounds or even Lambeth.”
Williams noted that she has also enjoyed the residential college experience.

“There are just fun things you get to do in Hereford ... like banquets just for Hereford [residents], and it makes us feel special,” she said. “I’m sure other residential colleges do that, but they’re not Hereford.”

Though not all current first-year students were initially excited to be placed in Hereford after being admitted to the University, many have grown to appreciate what the residence has to offer.

“I wanted to have that first-year classic experience,” first-year College student Ariel Sayre said, noting, though, that she has since appreciated having upperclassmen around, especially when she was choosing classes.

Still, Sayre said, “if I could choose again I would choose to [live with] all first-years.”

Though Sayre said she had always planned to leave Hereford after this year, she understands many upperclassmen are unhappy with the decision.

“It is a little community,” she said, “and it’s going to be completely messed up now.”

Not everything about Hereford will be completely changed, however, first-year College student Anna Pfeiffer said.

“Hereford is not dead,” Pfeiffer said. “Hereford College will continue to exist.”

Pfeiffer, who was part of a student committee that met with administrators last week about the changes to Hereford, said upperclassmen will still be able to take part in the traditional Hereford College activities, at least for 2009.

“Anyone who wants to be a part of Hereford College can live in the two nearest Gooch-Dillard [buildings],” Pfeiffer said. “They will be included in everything and will have access to all activities and amenities.”

Lampkin also said current upper-class residents will be able to resign and live in the Hereford community for the 2009-10 academic year. The Gooch-Dillard option is primarily meant for students wishing to move into the Hereford Residential College, she said, noting that although current Hereford residents will be able to resign and live in the same building they currently do, new students will not be allowed into the three Hereford buildings.

In this regard, Lampkin noted that it is important to differentiate between a residential college based on buildings and a residential college based on a community. She said she is also in favor of continuing to explore future options for the Hereford community, including the possibility that the residential college would continue to exist in a different location.

“My hope is that we can retain the community,” Lampkin said. “I don’t want to set an expectation, though, and I don’t want to reduce an expectation ... I have faith that we can figure this out.”

Though Pfeiffer noted that the re-signing and Gooch-Dillard options were not originally part of the administration’s plans, she said those plans were changed after students formed a committee and met with University administrators.

“It was a big problem, and it is a bit upsetting and ... stressful, but we are making the best out of this unfortunate situation,” she said. “We have not lost Hereford as a college.”

Pfeiffer also added that the committee will meet with Lampkin again next Monday to discuss the changes.

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